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Vayakhel-Chiddushei HaRim

The 23rd of Adar is the Yahrtzeit of Rav Yitzchak Meir (ben Yisrael) Alter of Ger (Chidushei HaRim) (1799-1866). The founder of Gerer dynasty, grandfather of Sfas Emes, Reb Yitzchak Meir was able to trace his lineage back to Rav Meir ben Baruch (the Maharam) of Rottenberg (1215-1293). His mother, Chaya Sarah, was orphaned early in life and was raised by her relative, the Kozhnitzer Maggid. The Maggid had a great influence on Yitzchak Meir during the latter’s early years. As he grew, he became a disciples of Rebbi Simcha Bunem of Pryschicha and then R’ Menachem Mendel of Kotzk. At the insistence of the Chassidim, the Rim became leader after the death of the Kotzker. At the first Chassi dic gathering over which he presided he declared, “Reb Simchah Bunem led with love, and R’ Menachem Mendel with fear. I will lead with Torah!” He had 13 children and outlived them all , a tremendous personal tragedy. Yet, he accepted it all with love.


“The men came with the women (Exodus 35:22).” The participation of the men, in this instance, was of greater significance than that of the women, al hanashim, for it was only the men who sinned with the Golden Calf. Therefore, their participation was an act of repentance, and the place where a person repenting can stand, is higher than even the perfectly righteous. (Chiddushei haRim, quoted in Sefat Emet)

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